Before you submit your concerns........

Please read the information below to make sure there has been a violation of the criteria below.

Living Wage Concept and Formula:  Our basic philosophy is that a person working 40 hours a week/52 weeks a year should be able to afford to pay for their own” basic needs” without government or private assistance.  We define basic needs as housing, food, taxes, healthcare, transportation, and other necessities.  We set an hourly wage rate based on the Standard Universal Living Wage formula and adjust this wage rate annually.  Specific information regarding our formula is available at


2011 Certification Criteria: 

·         Our 2011 wage rate is $11.35/hour for individuals without employer provided health insurance or $9.85/hour for employees with employer provided health insurance, or employees reimbursed for at least 50% of their cost of health insurance.

·         An employer may pay less than a living wage to apprentices, temporary or project-based employees, minors working part-time, interns, tipped employees, and a new hire in a probationary period not to exceed 90 days.  All of these circumstances will require additional information and will be reviewed by our certification committee and board of directors.

·         A tipped employee must receive a qualifying hourly income based on the employer provided wages and the average tips received per hour.  Just Economics interviews tipped employees to verify these figures during the certification process.

·         An employer may offset the wage rate by providing benefits that affect basic needs (healthcare, housing, food, or transportation).  Any offset will require additional information and will be reviewed by our certification committee and board of directors.

·         Just Economics values employer provided free meals at $5 per and reduced meals are valued as a percentage of the $5 value.  Example: 50 % discount = $2.50 credit per meal.

Living Wage: the amount that a single individual must earn hourly to afford their basic necessities, without public or private assistance.  For further information on the wage rate visit:

Living Wage Certified Employer: an employer that is accepted in our program and meets or exceeds Just Economics Living Wage Certification criteria.

Apprentice: an individual that is learning a trade, art, or skill by practical experience under skilled workers in exchange for work

Intern:  a student or graduate in a professional field gaining supervised practical experience in exchange for work.

Minors: An individual under the age of 18. 

Temporary / Project based EmployeeAn “as needed” employee that works intermittently and does not work over 45 days in a calendar year. 

Independent Contractor: a contractor that works as and when required, not regularly; paid on a freelance basis.  They must receive a “1099”.  Independent Contractors paid an hourly rate and consistently working over 8 hours a week must make $2/hr more than the current living wage in order to qualify for certification.  The additional wage requirements are meant to cover their individual tax requirements.    Businesses whose Independent Contractors work on a “bidding system” are excluded from our Living Wage Certification program

New Hire: an employee who is within their first 90 days of employment during which the employee and employer are evaluating each other. 

Tipped Employee: an employee who consistently relies on tips for a percentage of their income.  When averaged out, wage and tips combined must equal at least $11.35 for employees that do not receive employer provided health insurance or $9.85 an hour for those that receive qualifying employer provided health insurance.  Just Economics will interview a percentage of tipped employees from any employer that applies for Living Wage Certification using tips in order to qualify in order to ensure that the wage requirements are met.

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